New Cases. There is nothing good to be found in this End-of-Week report bracketed by Saturday’s released numbers. The 1732 unique new cases announced yesterday are by far the highest for a single day (save for the catch-up reporting of 1500 cases earlier in the month not assigned to a specific previous day). The 8683 unique new cases of the week leapfrogged over the previous weekly high by 1239 cases– a 17% increase. With 26,640 new October cases as of Saturday the 24th (and the month not even done yet) we already have 30% more cases than in all of September. Both the 7-Day and 14-Day rolling averages of new cases are also at record highs for the year. Since Sept 1, the aggregate total of new cases has been doubling every 5-6 weeks, a rate that is now worsening.
There is not much positive to say about last Saturday’s KHPI end-of-week update. New reported daily cases set new daily record highs four days in a row. Discounting the approximately 1500 Fayette County cases that had been unreported prior to last week, a new weekly high was also reached. This rise in new reported cases can also be visualized by inspection of the 14-Day rolling average of daily cases– also at a new high. (The 7-Day rolling average of new cases was so distorted by low reporting over the 3-day holiday weekend and the bolus of 1500 delayed cases, that this previous helpful metric was invalid.) Reported deaths last week reached the highest levels since the week ending September 12. That latter week reflected new infections from July suggesting we should anticipate increasing deaths in the coming weeks independent of additional new cases. Confirming that the increases in new cases and deaths are real, reported hospital and ICU admissions for Covid-19 disease are at their highest since the beginning of the epidemic. All of these markers of disease spread and impact are going in the same (wrong) direction.
You can inspect a full panel of interactive data visualizations on KHPI’s Covid-19 Update portfolio which is generally updated daily on Tableau Public.
We were given plenty of warning that this week was going to be the worst yet of our first 32 weeks of Covid in Kentucky. It was– by far. With 7444 new confirmed cases, we appeared to leapfrog over the 5965 cases of the previous weekly high that ended October 3d. The height of the jump was artifactually magnified by an unexpected and inexcusably delayed reporting of at least 1472 old cases from Fayette County on October 7. Perhaps this was related to the large numbers of positive tests among students at the University of Kentucky. I am unaware of how far back these cold cases stretched. On the one hand, these strays confuse the significance of the new current state “spike.” On the other, depending on which days the backfill should have been reported, it means that rather than hovering about a possible new higher plateau that would have been the lesser of two evils, that we have been continuously escalating the rate of growth of Kentucky Covid for some weeks. That is not a comfortable possibility. The state deserves better. If Fayette County with all its resources cannot report its cases to Frankfort in a timely and accurate manner, what confidence can we have that the 119 other Kentucky counties, distributed as they are among an assortment of semi-independent public health departments, are not also having difficulties in managing their own local information?
I do not have the information needed to venture much more commentary. I am not aware such has been made public. I offer below a limited assortment of KHPI data visualizations. The full workbook of Covid-19 Tracking graphics is available on KHPI’s Tableau Public website, along with a separate workbook of individual county Covid-19 epidemiologic curves as described in the most recent articles in this series. The following overview graphic shows as well as the more complex visualizations the relentlessly increasing impact of this virus.
I should be no surprise to readers that Covid-19 has entered a new and rapidly expanding phase of its presence in Kentucky. It is no longer (and never has been) solely a threat to the larger urban centers of the Commonwealth. Lack of a national strategy, conflicting advice, and poor example from some political leaders has made matters much worse than they had to be. I have been updating KHPI’s Covid-19 tracking page daily and will close out the past week of new record highs with additional commentary Saturday evening.
Watch Covid-19 spread ‘live.’ I want to take this occasion to augment yesterday’s offering to test a newly learned capability of the Tableau software I have been using for its powerful database, statistical, and data visualization capabilities. Using the New York Times Covid-19 County Database, I previously offered static maps that displayed the aggregate number of cases and deaths in each of Kentucky’s 120 counties at a single point in time.
What I have now been able to do is assemble a “filmstrip” of daily maps with a map for each of the 216 days since Covid-19 was first recognized in the state. The result is posted on the KHPI Tableau Public website. Using the date slider control in the panel on the right, the viewer can select any date interactively. There are also buttons (Back-Stop-Forward) to automatically transition one way or the other, but unfortunately on this browser-based platform, the rate of change is rather slow. (The image below is for illustration purposes only. Not a link.)